Voice disorders are incredibly common. Research indicates that voice disorders affect 1 in 13 adults every year. They impact your ability to speak normally and interfere with your ability to communicate. However, many people don’t seek treatment for their voice issues.
Most of us have woken up from time to time and sounded a little hoarse, especially if it was after a night of cheering on the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. This is usually not a cause for concern. However, if you have noticed sudden or persistent changes in your voice, it could indicate a more serious problem.
Common symptoms to look for include a voice that:
- Sounds hoarse
- Sounds strained
- Is weak or breathy
- Suddenly changes in pitch
Additionally, you may feel pain or tightness when you speak, experience a lump in the throat when you swallow or feel pain when you touch your throat.
What to Do if You Think You Have a Voice Disorder
Seek medical attention if you experience any changes in your voice. If your doctor suspects a voice disorder, they will refer you to an ENT specialist who will examine your vocal cords and larynx to determine the problem.
Treatment Options for Voice Disorders
The treatment for voice disorders depends on the type of disorder or cause of your symptoms. If your issues are caused by vocal strain or laryngitis, your treatment options will be much different than if your symptoms are due to a problem with the nerves in your vocal cords.
Some treatment options for common voice disorders include:
- Making lifestyle changes. This can include resting your voice, refraining from yelling or speaking loudly, exercising your vocal cords and making sure to stay hydrated.
- Speech therapy. A speech therapist can help you change speaking behaviors that may be harmful as well as teach you breathing exercises to help make your voice more powerful.
- Medication. If you have an underlying condition like acid reflux or a thyroid disorder that is contributing to your voice problems, treating that with medication should help your voice as well.
- Surgery. This is typically performed if your voice disorder is caused by a growth. If the growth is cancerous, you may need additional treatments like radiation or chemotherapy.
If you are concerned about any issues with your voice and want to talk to an expert or schedule an appointment, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.